5 Ways to Choose a Domain if Your Top Choice is Taken


You’ve analyzed your great idea from top to bottom, worked through your business plan and are finally ready to take the leap and launch your new business.

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Registering a New Domain? Better Research Its History

Thinking of registering a new domain name? One thing that people often forget to do, is to research the history of the domain name. I recently attended SMX West and Duane Forrester from Bing gave an example of a large company that had been complaining, a lot, that Bing was blocking their domain for no reason.

Domain Name Image

Turns out, Bing was blocking their domain, but it wasn’t because of things that the company was doing. The domain was being blocked because what had been done with the domain before the company owned it. The previous owners had been distributing Malware and Bing had, indeed, blocked it.

How can you learn about the history of a domain before you purchase one? There are a few red flags to look for. If you find a domain that seems almost too good to be true, it probably is. If the domain is cheap and a good one, chances are pretty high that it is cheap for a reason. Research is very important when buying a new domain name. You can use the trusty Way Back Machine to see what the domain has looked like in the past few years. You can also use the Domain Tools Whois History to see the ownership history and blacklist history.

The last thing you want when starting a new website is to be excluded from the SERP for reasons uncontrolled by you. Also be sure to follow our 6 tips for choosing the right domain name.

Have you ever registered a domain name only to find out later that it had been used inappropriately before? What did you do to resolve the issue?

Unlimited gTLDs?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently approved the future use of unlimited gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domain’s).  There are a total of 22 gTLDs. These domains range from: .com to .org to .net, but starting in January 2012, that list of 22 domains, will soon expand to a limitless number! Anything you can dream up will be able to be a gTLD.

So, what do unlimited gTLDs for businesses with websites online? It means that things may get a bit interesting and expensive… The top advice that owners of businesses with an online presence hear is protect your domain(s) from possible cyber squatters.  So, if you own yourbusiness.com, you should probably own yourbusiness.net, .org, .biz, and any common misspellings of your domain name, and every possible variation (within your budget) so your customers don’t mistype your web address and end up at a website that is not owned by you.  So, with limitless TLDs when would you know to stop buying domains? Until you go broke, I guess….

Which brings me to my next point, Will everyone be able to register any top level domain?

Yes, but at a very, very HIGH price.  The application fee for the domain will be $185,000 and the yearly domain fee will be $25,000.  For major online players, that is chump change, but for small online businesses, that is an astronomical price for a domain.  So, will everyone have a custom domain? No, but just knowing that you can is pretty cool.